Writers selected for Screenworks/Australian International Screen Forum workshop

(L-R from top: Matthew Barker, Lisa Hoppe, Jess Wheatley, Shane Walsh-Smith, Rebecca Ingram, Alica Gwinner, Tracy Richardson, Cate McQuillen)

Eight writers from regional Australia have been selected for the Write From Home Screenwriting Workshop, an eight-week online mentorship program delivered by the Australian International Screen Forum in New York in partnership with Screenworks.

Five of the writers come from regional NSW: Cate McQuillen, Jess Wheatley, Rebecca Ingram and Tracy Richardson, all from the Northern Rivers, and Lisa Hoppe from the South Coast. Two writers are from regional Victoria, Alica Gwinner and Matthew Barker, and one writer hails from the ACT, Shane Walsh-Smith.

Participants were selected on their demonstrated writing talent, the global appeal of each story and the potential to benefit from the development opportunities and US connections.

Under the guidance of US-based writers, producers and industry executives, the eight selected participants will now undertake the eight-week workshop to develop their screenplays and then pitch their individual projects to garner interest and representation in the United States.

Among the mentors are Joey Tuccio, founder and CEO, Roadmap Writers; Nitza Wilon and Elizabeth Kaiden, co-founders, of The Writers Lab; Anne Hubbell, vice president of motion picture, Kodak and founder, Tangerine Entertainment; Amy Hobby, executive director of the Tribeca Film Institute and founder Tangerine Entertainment; Timothy Cooper, founder and owner, Blueprint Screenwriting Group and Krysanne Katsoolis Present and CEO, Viewpark.

“We were delighted to hear that all of the assessors were impressed by the high calibre of the applications that we received for this program” said Screenworks CEO Ken Crouch.

“Most of the selected participants have already achieved some success in Australia and will undoubtedly benefit from developing their projects in order to leverage opportunities in the United States.”

AISF producer, industry programs Laura D’Augello said: “The Australian International Screen Forum looks forward to our new partnership with Screenworks in bringing this workshop series together to provide a connection between Australia and the New York market for these 8 exceptional Australian writers selected. The WFH workshop will provide resources in script development activities and international opportunities for mentorship at a time when Covid-19 has deeply impacted our industry.”

The selected participants and projects are:

Alica Gwinner, feature film Ms Greer: A wilful and passionate young woman from 1950s suburban Melbourne writes a feminist manifesto that redefines what it means to be a modern woman.

Cate McQuillen, TV series The Hitsquad: is a creative collective – hands-on, passionate and fifteen. It starts with a skipping rope and a cardboard box and ends in a number one hit.

Jess Wheatley, TV series Alternate: Upon her father’s death, the resentful daughter of a renowned fantasy author returns to her suffocating hometown only to discover the monsters from her father’s books are real and that she is the only line of defence for the small rural community she despises.

Lisa Hoppe, feature film Viva La Vida: Married for over thirty years, Kate and Ray Dempsey find themselves on the biggest adventure of their lives, struggling to renegotiate the terms of their love in Mexico; a strange and exotic land.

Matthew Barker, feature film They Will Come: When a young teacher retreats to an isolated mountain town to teach the only child living there, she finds herself in a fight for survival against deadly creatures invisible to everyone but her new student.

Rebecca Ingram, TV series Under Current: When a West Papuan activist’s body is found washed ashore on a remote Australian island, the investigation casts suspicion and fear within the quaint community, and beyond – and so, with the ebb of the tide… secrets slowly unravel…. to reveal everyone’s truth.

Shane Walsh-Smith, TV series Surface Tension: When the world ends in a nuclear explosion, eight members of the pampered and petty one-percenter Harcourt family, confined in their underground bunker, bicker and blunder their way through the apocalypse.

Tracy Richardson, feature film Lighting Up: A comedy about a pompous art critic and art school dropout, with a Scrooge-like contempt for Christmas, who must practice humility and lead a street to victory in a Christmas light competition to avoid becoming bankrupt.